Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Can the Nephite City of Zarahemla be in Iowa?

Recently we have found a surprising increase in people being interested in the Heartland model of Rodney L. Meldrum and Bruce H. Porter, who lead numerous tours into the central and eastern region of the U.S., claiming it was the landing area of Lehi and the home of the Jaredites, Nephites and Lamanites. This model also includes the small town in Iowa, about 12 miles north of Keokuk, a mile inland to the west of the Mississippi River and across the river from Nauvoo, which Joseph Smith was instructed to call Zarahemla in August 1841, changing the name from the Iowa Stake to Zarahemla Stake.
Land in southeastern Iowa, northern Missouri, and western Illinois, where Zarahemla, Montrose and Keokuk, Iowa, as well as Nauvoo, Illinois are located, and all this area is extremely flat, with some low-rolling hills

This Zarahemla was first settled in May 1839, with the site for the town selected by Joseph Smith on July 2, 1839, and later confirmed by revelation, March 1841. A stake, called the Iowa Stake, was organized by Joseph Smith in October, 1839, and by August 1841, the stake had 750 members in nine branches, when the name was changed to Zarahemla Stake. This followed an inquiry by Joseph Smith, asking to know the Lord’s “will concerning the Saints in the Territory of Iowa.”
    To this, the response came: “Verily, thus saith the Lord…if those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints…let them gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and build up cities unto my name, that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come. Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it. And let all those who come from the east, and the west, and the north, and the south, that have desires to dwell therein, take up their inheritance in the same, as well as in the city of Nashville, or in the city of Nauvoo, and in all the stakes which I have appointed, saith the Lord” (D&C 125:1-4).
    Now Meldrum and the Heartland theorists and followers, claim this was a revelation regarding the city of Iowa as being the original site of the city of Zarahemla of the Book of Mormon; however, as can clearly be seen, there is no reason to make such a claim since there is no indication of this being the case in the revelation. In fact, the purpose of the revelation appears to be the requiring of the early Saints being obedient to Joseph Smith’s instructions, whether about the name of towns or the locations for settlement. 
    It should also be noted that neither Joseph Smith nor any of those involved at the time made any connection or described this town in Iowa as the site of the Nephite Zarahemla. Nor did any of the early or later writings include such connections (Richard E. Bennett, "Montrose, Iowa," in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, edited by Donald Q. Cannon, Richard O. Cowan, Arnold K. Garr , Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2000; Stanley B. Kimball, “Nauvoo West: The Mormons of the Iowa Shore,” Brigham Young University Studies 18, Winter 1978, pp132–142).
In 1839 Arriving Mormons bought the township of Commerce and Joseph Smith renamed it Nauvoo. Across the Mississippi was the area of Montrose, which Joseph Smith bought a portion of and where the city of Zarahemla was eventually built where the original Fort Des Moines once stood
Across the river from Nauvoo, the Church bought two extensive tracts of land in a triangular tract area, extending from Fort Madison on the north, westward to the Des Moines River and south to Keokuk. This purchase also included a site three miles south of Montrose called Nashville, and 20,000 acres around it and along the Mississippi River, plus 30,000 acres in and around Montrose.
    In early 1839 some 40 LDS families occupied the deserted U.S. Army barracks of Old Fort Des Moines, located just across the river from where Nauvoo soon sprang up. Families residing there included those of church apostles Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff. The unattractive, spartan, U-shaped army barracks, which faced the Mississippi River, had been built in 1834 and abandoned in 1837, after considerable harassment from the Sauk Indians who felt their treaty had been violated.
    That summer members on both sides of the river suffered deadly sicknesses, at which time, the prophet Joseph, though sick himself, rose from his bed and ministered to the sick in Nauvoo, then crossed the river with five apostles, where he blessed and healed several, including Brigham Young.
The view from the area of Montrose/Zarahemla on the west side of the Mississippi; across the river from Nauvoo

In 1839 Montrose was surveyed, streets were laid out, and a temple site selected. By that fall so many Saints lived in and around Montrose that the church established a stake there, the Iowa Stake, with Joseph as the Stake President, along with a high council, bishop, and nine branches or congregations that by 1841 included some 750 Mormons. Shortly after, Joseph changed the name of the stake to Zarahemla Stake.
    Five months after changing the name from Iowa Stake to Zarahemla Stake, in January 1842, the stake was disbanded and the members were encouraged to move into Nauvoo, though many stayed and continued to develop the Iowa area, though the stake in Iowa was replaced by a single branch. In addition, the Saints in Iowa established three other settlements: Ambrosia (originally called Hawley’s Settlement), three miles to the north of Zarahemla where the Saint’s massive Sugar Creek encampment was located when they left Nauvoo in 1846; Nashville just south of Zarahemla, with its own steamboat landing; and Augusta, sixteen miles from Nauvoo, and expanding to both sides of the Skunk River, with three saw mills and two flour mills.
    In August of 1842, Joseph Smith stayed in the town of Zarahemla at his uncle John Smith’s home, and after his and his brother Hyrum’s death, and after the Church moved on to the Salt Lake Valley, in 1846 the city of Montrose absorbed the town of Zarahemla, as stated by the Assistant Church Historian, Andrew Jenson (Encyclopedic History of the Church, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1941, p972).
Early church settlements during and the Nauvoo period in Illinois and Iowa

In addition, Anthony W. Ivins, who served as both first and second counselors in the First Presidency (1921-1934), stated in Conference Report, April 1829, p16: “There is a great deal of talk about the geography of the Book of Mormon. Where was the land of Zarahemla? Where was the City of Zarahemla? and other geographic matters. It does not make any difference to us. There has never been anything yet set forth that definitely settles that question. So the Church says we are just waiting until we discover the truth. All kinds of theories have been advanced. I have talked with at least half a dozen men that have found the very place where the City of Zarahemla stood, and notwithstanding the fact that they profess to be Book of Mormon students, they vary a thousand miles apart in the places they have located. We do not offer any definite solution. As you study the Book of Mormon keep these things in mind and do not make definite statements concerning things that have not been proven in advance to be true.”
    Also, on this subject, Harold B. Lee stated: “Some say the Hill Cumorah was in southern Mexico (and someone pushed it down still farther) and not in western New York. Well, if the Lord wanted us to know where it was, or where Zarahemla was, he’d have given us latitude and longitude, don’t you think? And why bother our heads trying to discover with archaeological certainty the geographical locations of the cities of the Book of Mormon like Zarahemla?” (Harold B. Lee, “Loyalty,” address to religious educators, 8 July 1966; in Charge to Religious Educators, 2nd ed., Church Educational System and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1982, p65).
    The point is, despite the major claims of Meldrum and others, we cannot base a model on the location of the hill Cumorah or the city of Zarahemla. Our understanding of the geography of the Book of Mormon would have to be based on the scriptural reference, not someone’s opinion of the names used in the early settlements of Illinois.
    Rod Meldrum, a big proponent of Zarahemla, Iowa, and the Nauvoo area of Illinois being the site of the Book of Mormon Zarahemla along the Mississippi River which he claims was the River Sidon. However, the ancient prophet Mormon tells us that the city of Zarahemla of the Nephites was located much further from the Sidon River, which was to the east “in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon” (Mormon 1:10), and the “hill Amnihu, which was east of the river Sidon, which ran by the land of Zarahemla,” showing that the River Sidon was east, along the borders of the land of Zarahemla, with that border running between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Gideon: “he departed from them, yea, from the church which was in the city of Zarahemla, and went over upon the east of the river Sidon, into the valley of Gideon, there having been a city built, which was called the city of Gideon, which was in the valley that was called Gideon” (Alma 6:7),with the city of Gideon located in the Valley of Gideon (Alma 6:8), to the east of the border with the Land of Zarahamla.
    Obviously, there is no way, then, that Zarahemla, Iowa, one mile from the banks of the Mississippi, could have been the Zarahemla of the Book of Mormon, since the Sidon was in the far eastern borders of the Land of Zarahemla.
Southern Iowa Drift Plain and Eastern Glaciated Plains make up the landform for miles in each direction of southern Iowa and northern Missouri. The Central Plains marks more than 90% of Illinois and is the most prevalent landform, earning it the nickname “prairie state”

The point is, this area of southeast Iowa, northeast Missouri, and western Illinois is basically a flat land totally opposite of what the scriptural record points out between Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi, the latter being much higher in elevation—a factor that does not exist along the Mississippi River.
    As shown in the map above, the location of Zarahemla, Iowa, is upon a Drift Plain, meaning it is a plain (flat land) underlain with glacial drift—smoothly flowing slopes covered with from five to thirty feet of silty, sandy deposit or loess. This is a loosely compacted yellowish-gray deposit of very fine grained silt thought to have formed as the result of grinding by glaciers and to have been deposited by windblown sediment of which extensive deposits occur. It is found basically in eastern China and the American Midwest, dominating the flat appearance of the entire landform region.
    The Glaciated Plains are a result of continental glaciers that invaded the northern Great Plains, with their forces having a profound effect on the entire region, leaving what is called “pre-Illinoian tills” throughout the state, leaving a till plain or large, relatively flat plain of till that forms from the ice when it melts in place. In Illinois, or Central Plains, resulted from glaciers that once covered most of the state and, as they pushed southward, flattened the land. The last glacier retreated northward about 12,000 years ago. As the ice melted, sediment remained creating “till plains,” characterized by rich soil and rolling, almost flat landscapes.
    Again, this is not at all the description given of the area south of Zarahemla, which was located in the mountains, at a much higher elevation than Zarahemla. This is confirmed by Amaleki, an eye witness to the account of Mosiah leaving the city of Nephi and discovering the people of Zarahemla: “and they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness, until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla” (Omni 1:13, emphasis added).
    Now this Land of Zarahemla was separated from the higher Land of Nephi by a “narrow strip of wilderness” as Mormon informs us when telling us of the Lamanite king’s people who: “were in all his land…which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27).

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Narrow Pass Within the Neck of Land

When Mormon introduces a narrow pass or passage within the narrow neck of land that leads between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, we find an interesting corollary about this pass which was recorded in the 16th century by the Spanish conquistador and chronicler of Peru, Pedro de Cieza Leon. At the time, Huayna Cápac (Wayna or Guayna Qhapaq), considered the last of the great Inca Emperors, was in Quito (Ecuador), which northern boundaries of the Empire went clear to the Ancasmayo River (present-day boundary between Ecuador and Colombia).
    As Pedro de Cieza Leon recorded the event as he received it from the Inca: “Huayna Cápac was in Quito with all his captains and veteran soldiers, when he received word that one of his armies he sent to conquer a neighbor had been routed and were in rapid retreat. He sent fast runners to stop the retreat and for his army to take the high ground and wait for him to arrive. Huanyna Cápac not wanting to tell his soldiers one of their armies had been defeated, merely said they were marching against an enemy.
The Inca always rode in his litter, carried by his trusted servants and guarded by his assemblage of warriors

“The Inca, Huayna Cápac, rode in his litter south to the narrow pass through the mountains, but once in the passage, he dismounted and marched in front of his army for a day and a half through the Pass. Those Inca who had been retreating in great numbers, when they saw the approaching army consisting of their own people, stopped on one side, while the pursuers began to attack usurpers.
Huayna Cápac’s (red dotted arrow) trek through the narrow pass from his (yellow circle) stronghold north of the narrow neck of land to attack usurpers south of the narrow neck

“Huayna Cápac surrounded them on three sides, which amazed them not a little and even those who had been conquered, rallied and fought with such resolve that the ground was covered with dead. When the pursuers wished to retreat, they found the pass occupied, and so many were slain that very few remained alive except the prisoners, who were numerous. In honor of this great victory, Huayna Cápac named the pass or corridor through the mountains after himself in honor of his great victory” (taken from The Second Part of the Chronicle of Peru by Pedro de Cieza Leon, Antwerp, 1554; translated by Clements R. Markham, 1883, London. pp214-215).
    Trying to reach this pass much earlier in time, the Nephite Morianton found himself in the same condition as the later usurpers to the Inca throne, when he tried to get through the pass from which Teancum cut him off (Alma 50:34). This area was such a natural division between the lands, that it was chosen by the Lamanites and Nephites as the boundary between their two lands for the treaty they agreed to in 350 A.D. (Mormon 2:28). 
    Thus, we can see the narrow neck of land Mormon describes was simply that—a “narrow” neck of land—that could be easily defended against an enemy attack, was basically a natural division of land, had the sea on the east and west, with a natural pass or passage through it. Obviously, the 140-mile wide Isthmus of Tehuantepec does not qualify for this “small” and “narrow” neck.
    Current definitions of the word “narrow,” suggest it to be “of small or limited width,” and “limited in area,” and “a part of little width, as a pass through mountains.” And from 1828, the definition is “A strait; a narrow passage through a mountain,” “of little breadth; not wide or broad; having little distance from side to side; as a narrow board; a narrow street; a narrow sea; a narrow hem or border,” “of little extent; very limited; as a narrow space,” ”near, within a small distance, close.” Webster also says of narrow: “It is only or chiefly applied to the surface of flat or level bodies.” 
    Thus, when we look at a piece of land that is “narrow,” it should show some indication that it is considerably narrower than that surrounding it, in fact, extremely narrower to meet Webster’s definition—a small distance, close from side to side, and certainly not wide or broad. One needs only look at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec  in Mesoamerica to see that these descriptions easily discount that isthmus as a “narrow” area. And most importantly, for people from 600 B.C. to 420 A.D. able to recognize that it was a narrow neck of land for they would not have possessed satellite images, aerial photography, global maps or charts as we do today to get an overall view of an area. It would also have to be so designed to show land-bound people that the sea “divided” the land at that point (Ether 10:20), such as a very large bay or inlet cutting into most of the land’s width.
    Of course, if you are a Mesoamerican theorist, such as John L. Sorenson, you would look on a map for a narrow neck, which you consider an isthmus, and find the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Central America (Mesoamerica) as the narrowest point in the area. It would be an obvious choice as a narrow isthmus compared to the rest of the land mass on either side, yet not actually qualify for a narrow neck of land.
    The fact that this isthmus is not noticeable from the ground unless you know it is there, would not be understood as a “narrow neck” to any ancient people populating the area, has no significant earmarks of a narrowing of the land when standing upon that land (it is about 140 miles across from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean—a distance that is unobserveable from the ground), you might make a claim it is Mormon’s narrow neck, but only if you have never been there. To think that Nephites, without any type of overall view of the land except a ground-level view, would never think to call this a “narrow neck of land.”
    But if you ignore that, as Sorenson had to have done, then you could feel free to make any judgment about the land that is evident on a map.
Left: A Mohave Indian of the American southwest, known for their running stamina; Center: Toltec Indians who could run and entire day without tiring; Right: Indian who ran 100 miles in a day

You might even feel free to change the narrow neck to any distance you want and  justify the day-and-a-half journey from a Nephite to a remarkable group of  American natives who had achieved remarkable fetes in running, such as the Toltecs who “could run an entire day without tiring,” or “Mohave Indians who could cover nearly 100 miles a day sometimes going without food or even water for days,” or the American Indian who ran 100 miles, rested for a few  hours, then returned, as Sorenson points out in his book (An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt lake, 1985, p9).
    Obviously, as you increase the ability to cover the distance, you can widen that distance—say to 140 miles for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (many claim it is 125 miles wide, though the Mexican Government states it is 144 miles). However, and the all-important factor involved, the scriptural record does not change the fact that Mormon gave us a simple parameter—the width of the narrow neck was what “a Nephite could cover in a day-and-a-half journey.” A journey is not a race, it is not an endurance factor, it is not a world record. It is simply a common man (Nephite) journeying (traveling) a distance in a day-and-a-half. How far could such a person travel in a day and a half? First of all, we don’t know directly that it was 18 hours (12 hours daylight, 12 hours darkness for eating and rest, 6 hours daylight), however, the word journey suggests a normal travel sequence.
    The 1828 dictionary defines “journey” as “the travel of a day; travel by land to any distance and for any time; passage from one place to another,” all of which suggests a normal journey, trip, travel of an individual from one place to another. Thus, we can only conclude that the narrow neck of land was, indeed narrow, and the width of it was the distance a normal person could cover in a day-and-a-half without looking for unusual circumstances.
    The point is the same as we have pointed out numerous times. The scriptural record is not open to personal interpretation that is not consistent with the descriptions of the original writers. After all, Mormon knew what he was talking about because he walked that land from one end to the other, fighting battles, directing events of tens of thousands of people, and having to know the finest details of the entire land over which he moved his armies in battle and retreat, as well as in preparation for wars. No modern-day academician, historian or theorist is going to know more than Mormon did, and should never put words in the ancient prophet’s mouth he did not speak or imply. To do so is the worst kind of scholarship. To claim, as Sorenson does throughout his book, that Mormon meant something entirely different than what he said is simply foolhardy and without merit.
Mormon recorded, wrote and abridged the majority of the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon, having at his disposal the entire record of all the writers, including the large plates which we do not have

Mormon in Alma 22:27-34 and elsewhere has made it clear that there was a narrow neck of land between the Land Southward and the Land Northward, that it was the only land between these two areas, and therefore, that there was a narrow pass within that narrow neck of land—and that the pass was very narrow, and had the sea on both sides. He also makes it quite clear that this narrow neck of land was observable to the Nephites, which means that someone in the Nephite era, without aid of aerial photography, etc., could see that this neck was both a neck and that it was narrow—something that cannot be observed of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec on either shore. And isn’t it about time that we, as so-called scholars and historians, stop adding our thoughts, beliefs and ideas to the scriptural record, claiming the ancient writing says or implies things it clearly does not. The scriptural record, even in the area of geographical setting, was never intended for any of us to add our own personal ideas and develop entire scenarios out of them when they are clearly in conflict with the ancient writings.
    When Mormon tells us quite clearly the narrow neck of land could be crossed in a day-and-a-half by a Nephite, we cannot add tht he meant some marathon runner, or unique person, since he knew he was describing events for future readers that would not know something out of the ordinary that he alone knew. A day-and-a-half for a normal man would mean a distance of about 20 to 30 miles, perhaps 35 miles—but certainly not more, and certainly not 100 miles or more.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

In The Borders of the Land

The term “borders of the land” is used twenty-five times in the scriptural record, six times in Mosiah, and nineteen times in Alma. In addition, the words “border” or “borders” relating to a border by the sea, of a city, of a wilderness, etc., is mentioned fifty-four times (4 in 1 Nephi,  40 in Alma, 2 in Helaman, 2 in 3 Nephi, 4 in Mormon, and 2 in Ether). In all the term “border” or “borders” related to the boundary of a land or a portion of a land, city or wilderness. Thus, we can say without hesitation that the word “border” in the scriptural record related specifically to such a boundary. This is verified by the 1828 dictionary which states of the word "border": “the confine or exterior limit of a country, or of any region or tract of land,” that is the outer border of an area.
All lands have borders. Anciently these were generally natural topographical features, like rivers, canyons, mountains, or low rock walls

We see this in the usage of the term: “It came to pass that after many days the Lamanites began again to be stirred up in anger against the Nephites, and they began to come into the borders of the land round about” (Mosiah 21:2, emphasis added). Borders round about, of course, means encircling or encompassing, thus, the borders of a land refer to not only a specific part of an overall border, but of the overall border on all sides as well.
    Thus, when it states: “And they fled before the Nephites towards the wilderness [of Hermounts] which was west and north, away beyond the borders of the land; and the Nephites did pursue them with their might, and did slay them” (Alma 2:36), showing the Hermounts was not within the Land of Zarahemla. Or that “as many as did believe him did go forth to a place which was called Mormon, having been named by the king, the area in the borders of the Land of Nephi having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts” (Mosiah 18:4), showing the Land of Mormon, and thus the Waters of Mormon and the Forest of Mormon, were in the borders, or near the far border of the Land of Nephi.
    We can also see that “Behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city” (Alma 16:2), that the border of this city, at least on one side, ran along the wilderness, which the same can be said of other cities, such as Melek (Alma 8:5).
    We also see that when the sons of Mosiah and those with them, upon leaving the Land of Zarahemla, came to the borders of the Lamanite lands (Alma 17:13); and that the land between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi (Lamanites) was a wilderness (17:7,9). In addition, we can see that the city of Ammonihah was along the borders of the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 25:2).
    We also can see that the Land of Mormon, was within the borders of the Land of Nephi, where Alma met with his converts (Mosiah 18:31). In addition, Mormon tells us that the Land of Zarahemla was separated from the Land of Nephi by a “narrow strip of wilderness” (Alma 22:27), which was also just called “the wilderness” (Alma 27:14), and that this area, at least in one part, was capable of holding a large body of people, including their flocks and herds (Lamanite converts).
    The borders of the Land of Manti were south of the West Valley, on the west side of the Sidon River (Alma 43:32). It is also clear that the southern border of the Land of Desolation was north of the narrow pass, which led into the Land Northward, with the sea on both sides (Alma 50:34). Also, the borders of the Land of Bountiful were on the beach by the seashore (Alma 51:32).
There are all types of borders. Top: LtoR: Borders refer to two rivers; Steel Fence; Barbed Wire; Bottom: Rock Wall; Double Wire Fence; and Natural Canyon 

The point of all this is we can see that the word “borders” signifies and end (or beginning) of a land’s boundaries, and therefore have a better understanding of the size and scope of a land and not led to think something erroneous, as an example the Sidon River, is next to a city when it is on the borders of the land—or that “ran by the Land of Zarahemla” (Alma 2:15), thus not being confused when some theorists claim the river ran by the city and not out along the borders of the land. It is also critical to realize that “borders” of a land does not mean the “city” of that land. However, it is quite clear the Sidon was in the borders of the Land of Zarahemla, not by the city: ““the war began to be among them in the borders of Zarahemla, by the waters of Sidon“ (Mormon 1:10, emphasis added).
    Take for example when theorists tell us how large or small the Land of Promise is by measuring the only distance/time measurement available to us in the entire scriptural record, and that is Mormon’s escape with his converts from the Waters of Mormon to Zarahemla. Theorists want to claim that this was “to the city of Zarahemla,” but the scriptural record does not say that. It states: “After they had been in the wilderness twelve days they arrived in the land of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 24:25, emphasis added). We see this same idea when it states: “returned to the land of Nephi, having arrived in the borders of the land not many days before the coming of Ammon” (Mosiah 21:26, emphasis added).
    Thus, since we do not know how far the city of Zarahemla was from the borders of the land, we cannot use this 21 day journey of Alma to state clearly any distance between the city of Nephi and the city of Zarahemla. Nor can it be said that the Land of Zarahemla made up a small area, for there is much said about the land as being quite large. “They took their armies and went over into the borders of the land of Zarahemla, and fell upon the people who were in the land of Ammonihah, and destroyed them” (Alma 25:2); and in protecting the people of Ammon in the land of Jershon, the Nephites “gathered together all their people, yea, all the people of the Lord, and did gather together all their flocks and herds, and departed out of the land, and came into the wilderness which divided the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla, and came over near the borders of the land” (Alma 27:14).
    “The armies of the Nephites were set round about the land of Jershon, yea, in all the borders round about the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 28:1).
Small forts overlooking routes that controlled valleys, canyons and cities 

Also: “He had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8). And also: “Gidgiddoni commanded that his armies should pursue them as far as the borders of the wilderness, and that they should not spare any that should fall into their hands by the way; and thus they did pursue them and did slay them, to the borders of the wilderness, even until they had fulfilled the commandment of Gidgiddoni” (3 Nephi 4:13, emphasis added).
    If one is not trying to limit the size and scope of the Land of Promise to fit into a pre-conceived and pre-determined land, such as Mesoamerica, it is not difficult to see from the scriptural record that the Land of Zarahemla was a large area, where much went on in several areas, each isolated from one another. In fact, when along the southern land and the eastern seashore, where the Nephites built several cities, such as Moroni, Lehi, Morianton, and Moronihah, Capt. Teancum was defending the region from successful Lamanite attacks led by Amalickiah and Ammoron.
    Teancum sent an urgent dispatch requesting aid to Capt. Moroni. At the time, Moroni was in the western lands around Zarahemla and the west seashore (Alma 52:11) defending the area against Lamanite attacks there.  He sent back word that he could not come to Teancum's aid because he was thus engaged, obviously suggesting the far distances involved. Consequently, though the Land of Nephi was south of the narrow strip of wilderness, in the borders of that land was the Land of Mormon, where Alma converted his four hundred and fifty people. So when theorists claim that the distance from the City of Nephi to the City of Zarahemla was such and such a distance, keep in mind that the 21-day journey used to determine this distance began at the Water of Mormon, not the City of Nephi, which were in the borders of the Land of Nephi, not necessarily close to the city of Nephi.
    Thus, the “borders of the land” can have significant meaning to us in understanding the geography of the land if we take the time to understand it and consider its meaning in the numerous descriptions of the land in which it is given by Mormon, mostly in Alma, but also elsewhere.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Could Lehi Have Rounded the Cape and Sailed the Atlantic Ocean? – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding a critic’s comments about our suggested route for Lehi to reach the Land of Promise via the Southern Ocean.
    Comment: “They [History Channel] famously use this model to demonstrate how the BoM could not be corroborated by science.”
    Response: In order to make a claim about someone not knowing about science, you need to know about science yourself. The above comment shows how little people and the History Channel know about simple science. As an example, they aired a program “Ape to Man: Evolution Documentary History Channel” (September 30, 2016), claiming evolution took place. They also aired a documentary series on “Ancient Aliens,” in 2010, about ancient astronauts landing on Earth. They also aired a program: “How the Earth Was Made,” December 2007) showing as 4.5 billion year old Earth and its various so-called geologic periods.
    As for reality, the Jaredites spent 444 days in their barges, taking sufficient food and water with them to last all that time. Thor Heyerdahl spent almost four months at sea without landing for replenishment of food or water and all were strong and healthy when they reached the Tuamotus in Polynesia.
    Comment: “Furthermore the Central and South American Natives do not have any Mediterranean DNA.”
Response: Neither do the ancient Israelites—their Hebrew DNA would have been Mesopotamia, where Noah landed and settled and through his second great grandson, Eber (Noah, Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah, Eber). On the other hand, according to an "official" statement by the Church on the lds.org website, "Much as critics and defenders of the Book of Mormon would like to use DNA studies to support their views, the evidence is simply inconclusive. Nothing is known about the DNA of Book of Mormon peoples. Even if such information were known, processes such as population bottleneck, genetic drift, and post-Columbian immigration from West Eurasia make it unlikely that their DNA could be detected today."
    Comment: “North Eastern American Natives notoriously are genetically indistinguishable from European and Mediterranean DNA groups.”
    Response: Hebrew/Israelites of antiquity were neither European nor Mediterranean, nor does any knowledgeable person make a claim that North American Natives specifically were Lehi’s descendants other than North American theorists.
    Comment: “And irregardless…”
    Response: While “irregardless” is used strictly in regional or social variety of a language (dialectal), it is a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the existing culture. In other words, “irregardless” is not a word in the English language. The word is “regardless” or “irrespective.” One might want to get a spell-check program for their computer.
    Comment: [Regardless that] Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery first took the BoM to the Laminate remnants by commandment from the Lord.”
    Response: The first missionaries to the American Indians by the Church was in 1830, just after the “Indian Removal Act” which sent displaced natives to the present-day areas of Kansas and Oklahoma, thus, the first missionaries planned to go west from Independence, Missouri, into what was then called “Indian Territory.” The revelatory commandment came while they were in Fayette, New York, and on their way west to Independence, they stopped among the Seneca Indians, but soon continued on into Ohio where they accomplished a lot of success to their missionary effort. The Indian Territory at the time was the closest Indian area to the new Church, filled with American natives who had been displaced from the southeast. To have gone to Central or South America at the time would have been quite costly, with transportation there very difficult, and the area dangerous because of the ongoing wars of independence in South America.
    Comment: “The Laminates that the Lord spoke of were in the area around the Great Lakes.”
    Response: As stated above, the Indians referred to, spoken of, and proselyted, were in the “Indian Territory” to the west, in Kansas and Oklahoma. This is where the first missionaries went after two important stops.
Calling received in Fayette, New York, to go to the Lamanites; on the way, stopped among the Seneca Indians; then on to Mentor, Kirtland and North Union (Shakers), Ohio; then to Independence Missouri; then across into Indian Territory (northeast Kansas) near the junction of the Missouri and Kansas rivers to the Delaware Indians

In fact, Parley P. Pratt wrote that while still in New York, the four missionaries called on “an Indian [Seneca] nation at or near Buffalo; and spent part of a day with them, instructing them in the knowledge of the record of their forefathers.” They then went westward toward Kansas, but stopped in Mentor, Ohio, where they spoke to Sydney Rigdon, Pratt’s former friend and mentor. After a few discussions, Rigdon and many others were baptized, and, as Pratt wrote: “the news of the discovery of the Book of Mormon and the marvelous events connected with it” created a general “interest and excitement in Kirtland, and in all the region round about. The people thronged to us night and day, insomuch that we had no time for rest and retirement. Meetings were convened in different neighborhoods, and multitudes came together soliciting our attendance. In two or three weeks from our arrival, we had baptized one hundred and twenty-seven souls.”
    While their primary purpose was to preach to the native tribes, Cowdery and his fellow missionaries continued to teach others they met along the way. In retrospect, the greatest impact of their mission occurred partway through their travels. Pratt tells how they continued on, eventually reaching the Indians in Kansas. However, at no time were these first missionaries called to preach to the American Indians in and around the Great Lakes. Nor were they called to preach to any other specific groups, tribes, or areas. The commandment stated for this first mission to go ”into the wilderness among the Lamanites” (D&C: 32:2). At the time, the wilderness was to the west, in the territories where the Indians had been driven by the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
    Comment: “These Native Americans are genetically different from the groups in Central and South America.”
    Response: Genetics is still in its infancy and no definite understanding of this can yet be achieved, other than in parlor room discussions by uninformed people. Science is just beginning to understand this, and so much more needs to be learned before such definitive statements can be made.
    Comment: “So you're correct South Africa is treacherous and the current does move Eastward.”
    Response: It is common maritime knowledge. We were merely repeating that.
    Comment: “And the account of their journey does corroborate this as they were driven back by storm and wave.”
The (light blue arrow) Agulhas Current moving south bends to the east in the Agulhas Return Current; The (red arrow) storm track following the winds of the current would turn east, not back the way they had come, and therefore, the (yellow dotted arrow) proposed Lehi course would turn eastward with the storm not return them along the line from which they came

    Response: The Agulhas Return Current which is the eastward flowing return current of the earlier south flowing Agulhas Current flows eastward, not back the way they had dome. In fact, Nephi said, “after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days” (1 Nephi 18:15), which is not what the Agulhas Return Current would have done. It would have taken a southwest (south by west) moving vessel and turn it southeast (east by south). Not what the scripture said.
    Nor is it what happens in a whirling storm, especially like those in the Indian Ocean—they are circular storms, and if one is not careful, has no power, and is subject strictly to winds and currents, they ship is turned in a wide circle by such a storm and could be thrown out of the center of the melee into the waters heading back in the direction from which they had been sailing—obviously, what Nephi described. Such a storm would have occurred, where the large majority of Indian Ocean storms occur, called “tropical cyclones,” to the east of Madagascar
When Nephi’s ship (yellow dotted) was caught in the (red circle) storm, the circular movement of the tropical cyclone turned the ship around and sent it back in the direction it had previously sailed

    Comment: “But it is not impossible for them [to] round South Africa.”
    Response: It would not have been impossible for the average Israelite to have killed a lion with his bare hands like Samson did; however, none have been recorded as doing so. To simply say “it is not impossible…” for something to happen is not worthy of any intelligent discussion. It would have not been impossible for the Lord to have picked them up outside Jerusalem and whisked them away to the Land of Promise and saved them all the trouble of spending 8 years in the wilderness, 2 years building a ship, and months braving the waters of the deep ocean. However, that is not a path to a worthwhile discussion of the facts.
    While it was not impossible for Lehi to have rounded Africa, it would have been about as improbable as one can get. It would have been so much simpler just to send them the other way, onto the Southern Ocean, that would have shortened the voyage and shortened the time involved at sea as we have stated many times.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Could Lehi Have Rounded the Cape and Sailed the Atlantic Ocean? – Part I

There are certain, seemingly minor points in the scriptural record, that if misunderstood, can cause one to wander far afield of the factual events therein described. As an example, the entire North American Land of Promise theory, as well as an east coast landing site, for either North or Central America theories rests on a believe that Lehi traveled from the Indian Ocean around Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Western Hemisphere. A seemingly minor point until one delves into the practicality of such an endeavor. On a map, it looks quite workable and supportive of such an endeavor, however, in reality such a voyage at the time and well beyond the Age of Sail and the Portuguese discovery of a rout between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. Despite the fact that we have pointed this out on several occasions, both those advocating a North American landing, either sailing up the Mississippi or St. Lawrence rivers, River, or landing along the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico, appear oblivious to the problems surrounding a course around the Cape of Africa.
    Since the Portuguese in the late 1400s were able to do this, and throughout the 1500s, were able to sail from the Atlantic to the Indian oceans and back, their argument is that Lehi could have done the same. What they fail to understand, however, is that the Portuguese were very experienced and successful seamen, with sometimes daring, and even foolish, captains seeking treasure, fame and fortune. Lehi was none of that. His course was dictated by the winds and currents, which do not flow easily around the Cape of Africa, and also by the Liahona, which the Lord directed him along a course fit to his ship's capabilities and those of his simple crew--all inexperienced at sea and sailing a ship.
    Along this line, we recently received a series of questions from a critic who disagrees with our course for the Lehi voyage from the Sultanate of Oman along the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, insisting that it would not have been impossible for Lehi to round the Cape of Africa and head northward across the Atlantic to land on the east coast of Central or North America. It is sometimes surprising that these individuals who promote this view are so oblivious to the facts of such a course, causing the idea to become such a controversial point of contention among Heartland, Great Lakes and Eastern U.S. theorists, that the issue is still alive and kicking, albeit and hopefully its last gasping breath.
Meldrum’s course for Lehi sailing toward the Cape of Africa and rounding it into the Atlantic Ocean and then toward Florida along the Gulf of Mexico 

The controversial research author Rod L. Meldrum and his recent co-author, Bruce H. Porter, are two of the leading proponents of the Heartland Theory and an eastern U.S. landing site for Lehi along the coast of western Florida. However, to get there, one has to justify the scriptural record with Meldrum’s course for Lehi down the Indian Ocean to the Cape of Africa.
    It is a shame that this path is so seriously considered by individuals who seem oblivious to the facts of the matter, and are so willing to take someone’s word for it rather than check it out for themselves.
The currents surrounding the Capt of Africa are some of the most dangerous waters on the planet and have claimed more than 3,000 ships over time because of the tempestuous currents, retroflection, counter current, return current, storms, rocky headlands and conflicting winds 

As an example, unless it has been read here, how many of these Heartland theorists know that along their so-called path of Lehi’s voyage is an area called Cabo das Tormentas (“Cape of Storms,”) and that the name was changed to Cabo da Boa Esperanca (Cape of Good Hope) by John (João) II, king of Portugal and the Algarves, because he wanted to highlight the great optimism of finding a route to the Indian Ocean and deemphasize the dangers encountered? Or that this area was also called the “Graveyard of Ships,” where at least 3,000 decaying ship’s hulls rest at the bottom of the ocean that tried to round the Cape? Or that early Portuguese sailors, who were expected to sail these waters around the rocky headland, considered it suicide to do so? Or know that the explorer Bartolomeu de Novaes Dias was blown off course when trying to round the Cape for the first time and ended up in the eastward moving West Wind Drift of the Southern Ocean and the Prevailing Westerly winds that blew to the east? Or that the reason Dias named the Cape Cabo das Tormentas was because of the tempestuous storms and strong Atlantic-Antarctic currents that made ship travel there so perilous? Or that the route to the Indian Ocean from Portugal required sailing southwestward across the Atlantic to Brazil, then swinging wide around the Cape to pick up the Southern Ocean before encountering the horrendous storms south of Africa?
Within the midst of the tempestuous Stormy Region off the coast of South Africa was the graveyard of ships along the southern most point: Cape Agulhas 

In all, how many have considered the extreme dangers for a totally inexperienced, non-sailing, landlubber crew on Nephi’s ship in sending them around Africa, through the Cape of Storms, the Graveyard of ships, and the extremely dangerous waters that even Dias and de Gama could not conquer from the coastal route? Or how many know that de Gama’s successful route from Lisbon, Portugal, to Calicut along the Malabar Coast of India, took two years (one year to get to India, and one year back) and that only 55 of the original 170 crew survived the ordeal?
    Judging Lehi’s time frame by today’s capability standards is a foolish tactic in trying to support a theory, idea or belief about the antiquitus period in which Lehi lived.
• Anciently, ships were limited in their direction of travel to the trade and monsoon winds and ocean currents, and were subject to days of becalming in the low-pressure doldrums. Today ocean-going vessels have nuclear or diesel power and can go anywhere at any time in any weather, or on sailing vessels that have moveable sails and yards for tacking to catch the wind from almost any direction.
• Anciently, during the Age of Sail, it took 40 to 45 days to cross the Atlantic. Today, it takes six to seven days to sail from Europe to New York or six or seven hours by air. Ships reached speeds of 5 to 8 knots but averaged about 4 knots, while today some ships reach 25 to 29 knots—making travel easier, quicker, and more enjoyable.
•Ancient mariners food was always rationed for fear of running out while at sea. They ate the food first that would quickly spoil; on occasion they had live animals that were butchered on board; and also dried meat and fish, salted, smoked or pickled. However, their staple food was biscuit, or “bisket” (later called hardtack, a hard cracker made of flour, water and sometimes salt, that was long lasting provided it was kept dry. Today, travelers on ships eat scrumptious meals, prepared by professional chefs. Or have ovens and stoves on their private boats, along with refrigerators so they can eat as much as as often as they like.
There were no beds on ancient ships other than for a Captain and one or two officers. Everyone slept in hammocks where you have to sleep on your back, suffer from convective heat loss due to airflow and numerous other difficulties—some adapted, some did not

• Anciently, men slept in hammocks, and often on the hard deck in the open air to avoid the stifling heat below decks. Today people sleep in comfortable beds with mattresses on board commercial and private ships and vessels.
    Part of the difficulty with theorists is that, while giving minimal lip service to these and other differences, fail to use the significance of differences in making judgments about the ancient periods, attributing accomplishments in ships, shipbuilding and voyages to people long before they had the minimal technology to achieve them.
    Despite modern sailors’ conflicting thoughts on the matter, ancient mariners did not sail away from land without charts and prior knowledge of routes. When the celebrated Phoenician seamen circumnavigated the continent of Africa, historians often fail to mention that it took three years, and they set in each evening, not sailing at night, and during two planting seasons planted and harvested crops to sustain themselves.
    In fact, with the type of thinking that modern man often uses to evaluate the past, if we wait long enough we might find that neotheorists will start claiming Lehi made it to the moon where he landed along the western shore of Mare Humorum (Sea of Moisture) in the Moon’s Southern Hemisphere, not too far from Kepler and Copernicus.
    So in looking at this recent critique, we will list his remarks under “comment” and our reply under “response.”
    Comment: “The History Channel used the Pacific Ocean model for Lehi sailing to the American Continents [and] their consultants also agree that they would not have survived due to lack of fresh water.” 
    Response: This is purely uninformed, even for the History Channel. As any mariner well knows, with storms and rain at sea, fresh water can be captured, such as stretching a tarpaulin like a sunshade at night and turning up its edges to collect dew, or used open barrels to catch the downpours and then [History stored in sufficient quantities.
Water was taken aboard in barrels and when one was emptied, it was refiled by rainwater at sea, which could have been obtained from a stretched tarp 

Thor Heyerdahl in his 1947 Kon-Tiki voyage talks about this being how they obtained fresh water on their voyage, as have many other mariners described. You can also get aqueous fluid that is found along the spine and in the eyes of large fish—in addition one can drink a lot of water obtained during a rainstorm, or douse clothing in the sea during hot days.
    On the other hand, or in addition, the Lord may well have shown Nephi how to obtain fresh water from salt water by heating the latter in a pot with a container in the center, into which the water vapor from steam accumulating on an inverted pot cover on top drips fresh water into the center container. Obviously, the Lord knows more about obtaining water at sea that any historian or even mariner.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What Was Nephi’s Role on His Ship? – Part III

Continued from the previous two posts regarding a critique sent about Nephi and his role on the ship he built, as well as Jerusalem and Georgia being on the same latitudinal line. Below we respond to the third critique:
    Comment: “Mediterranean is not the necessary environment for planting. It's latitude”
    Response: Jerusalem is a dry, arid, subtropical climate (Köppen Csa; warm temperature, summer dry, cool winters), 21” rainfall a year; no snow, called a Mediterranean Climate, which only exists along a west coast of a continent, and is found in only five places in the world—and only two in the entire Western Hemisphere. It is the most unique climate in the world.
    Consider that along the latitude of Georgia is Tucson, Arizona; Ensenada, Mexico; Marrakech, Morocco; Béchar, Algeria; Mizdah, Libya, Baltim, Egypt, An-Najat, Iraq; Shūshtar, Iran; Al-Hamad desert Arabia; Qandahar, Afghanistan; Faisalabad, Pakistan; Moshiārpur, India; Ganghu, China; Miyazaki, Japan; and Nanking, China. For the most part, these are considerably different climate zones from that of either Jerusalem or Georgia, all along the same basic latitudinal line.
As for latitude being the important criteria for planting, the major factor regarding global climate is that the equator receives more direct sunlight than other parts of the planet, which causes the air there to heat up and rise. The planet is spinning on its axis, so when air rises, it gets defected north or south. The rising air loses pressure, cools, and expands, losing the water vapor it gained at the equator in the form of equatorial rain. High up in the atmosphere, this dry, expanding air spreads out in all directions and falls back to Earth, and the air moving north and south falling around the 30th latitudes. In falling, the dry air increases in pressure and heat again. Dry, warm air, falling around 30°, right where the Earth’s major deserts are … not a coincidence, nor is it a coincidence that is where is found the Mediterranean Climates, and also is the factor governing the location of all climates.
    This shows that latitude is one factor, such as all Mediterranean Climates are between 30-45º North and South latitudes, however, the Mediterranean Climate is only found on the west coast of continents at these latitudes (and around the Mediterranean Sea), because of the cold offshore currents prevail. On the other hand, Warm Humid Subtropical Climates occur between 20-30º North and South latitudes along the southeast coasts of continents—which create very different climates in various areas of the globe.
Warm, humid, subtropical climates of the world. The entire state of George falls within this southeastern climate area of the U.S. in North America 

A warm humid subtropical climate is characterized by hot and humid summers, and mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 35° and are located in North America from the U.S. southern states from Virginia to Texas, and on the east coast of Australia, southern Brazil, Uruguay, northern Argentina, east coast of Africa, eastern China, Korea, Japan and Eastern Europe (including the Balkans, Romania, the Caucasus and northern Turkey). This climate is characterized by hot, muggy weather with rainfall ranging from 40-80 inches annually, and for plants to live in this type climate, they must be able to withstand extreme seasonal and temperature changes. 
Mediterranean Climates have relatively mild, cool and wet winters between 30 and 65 degrees; and very dry, warm summers, with all summer months averaging above 50 degrees 

The Mediterranean climate’s wet winter and dry summer seasonality of precipitation is the defining characteristic of this climate, and is home to plants that can survive long dry summers. Evergreens such as Pine and Cypress trees are mixed with deciduous trees such as some Oaks.  Fruit trees and vines such as grapes, figs, olives, and citrus fruits grow well here.  Other plants include what are called "scrub", which include small shrubs, grasses, and herbs.  The resulting vegetation of Mediterranean climates are the garrigue (soft-leaved scrubland) in the Mediterranean Basin, the chaparral (hard-leafed, short intermodes) in California, the fynbos (low-growing woody vegetation) of South Africa and the Chilean scrubland or matorral in Chile. Areas with this climate are where the so-called "Mediterranean trinity" has traditionally developed: wheat, vine and olive.
    Also, the Mediterranean climate occurs on the poleward borders of the 30° desert zones. Obviously, then, the region of the Earth that receives the most perpendicular sunlight, which oscillates between the tropics as the tilted planet revolves around the sun. So in the northern summer, the region of falling, warm air shifts north as the region with the most perpendicular insolation approaches the Tropic of Cancer. In the winter the opposite happens, and cooler temperatures and rain results, while the warmer air shifts to the southern hemisphere.
Along the 31º South Latitude is where all the Mediterranean Climates (yellow) are found, both in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere 

Along this same 31º S. latitudinal line in the Southern Hemisphere are also found: “Desert Tropical” (gray); “Humid Temperate” (brown); “Oceanic Temperate” (black); “Warm, Wet and Temperate (red); “Humid subtropical” (dark purple); “Marine Coast” (lite purple)—all suggesting a varied climate along one single latitudinal line in the south.
    In the Northern Hemisphere along the 31º N. latitudinal line again are found varied climates: “Arid Cool Desert” (light red); “Humid subtropical” (green); “Desert subtropical (orange); “Hot Summer Continental (dark blue);“Semi-arid steppe (light blue); ”Moist Maritime” (white). 
    Thus, while the latitude can determine some climates, it is the climate that determines the growth of crops and plants and which plants will grow where. As an example, while a single latitude will stretch across a desert, such as in the southwest states of the U.S., that same latitude crosses the subtropical climate of the southeast states; or the same latitude that crosses the tropical regions of Central America, also crosses the arid deserts of northern Africa as well as the temperate climates of northern India and eastern China; or the same latitude that crosses the hot, arid climate of Saudi Arabia also crosses the tropical climate of Pakistan as well as the temperate climate of western China; or the latitude that crosses the cold arid climate of Mongolia and Kazakhstan, also crosses the temperate climate of northern Italy, northern and western Spain, and the continental climate of the northeastern United States.
Lehi’s course from the Mediterranean Climate of Jerusalem to the Mediterranean Climate of the Western Hemisphere—Central Chile 

Consequently, it cannot be said that “the necessary environment for planting is latitude, not climate,” which is a complete fallacy! And the seeds that Lehi brought from Jerusalem, which they planted in the Land of Promise upon arrival (1 Nephi 18:24), grew exceedingly, which tells any agriculturist that those seeds were planted in a like climate and soil type as where they were developed—in Jerusalem, a Mediterranean Climate, as only Central Chile and Southern California have in all of the Western Hemisphere. Had they not been planted in a like climate, it is most likely they would not have grown at all, or if they did, they would have grown very poorly. The pilgrims found this out in their first year at Plymouth, when the seeds they brought from Leiden in the Netherlands, which has a (Cfb) Warm Oceanic Climate, 50º average temperature, and a rainfall of 31 inches. These seeds they planted at Plymouth in Massachusetts, which is a Cold, Humid Continental Climate (Dfb), with severe winters, no dry season, and heavy rainfall of 49 inches. Had the Patuxet (Wampanoag confederation) Indian Tisquantum (Squanto), not shown them how to plant Indian corn when the Pilgrim‘s seeds brought from the Netherlands died in the ground, the Plymouth colony most likely would not have survived.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What Was Nephi’s Role on His Ship? – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding a critique sent about Nephi and his role on the ship he built, as well as other erroneous comments regarding the sailing route Lehi took, and the all-important seeds planted in the Land of Promise that saw them through the first year.

An ancient ship was brought into port by the ship’s pilot, or a harbor pilot who came aboard to sail the ship into port

These early ship’s pilots were normally a former ship captain and a highly experienced shiphandler and, most importantly, possessing detailed knowledge of the particular waterway, such as the actual depth, direction and strength of the wind, current and tide at any time of the day. Columbus’ Santa Maria had a pilot named Pero Nino; the Pinta’s pilot was Cristobal Garcia Xalmiento; and the Niña had Sancho Ruiz as pilot, and Bartolome Roldan, as apprentice pilot. The pilot was the third in line of power and salary, after the Captain (Captain-General) and the Owner and Master. The Captain of the Pinta was Martin Pinzon, who was trained as an accomplished sailor and ship’s pilot; as was his brother, Vincente Yanez Pinzon, who was twenty-years younger. While at sea, the role of the pilot was generally to be the navigator—this was especially true on ships of adventure and exploration, since the working crew was necessary to sail and maintain the vessel, thus unnecessary positions were kept to a minimum, both for space and for salary.
During the Age of Sail, the pilot was a navigational expert for the port of call, especially later on after ports became known and earlier sailed to and from where either captains or crew members acquired that knowledge and experience. The work functions of the pilot go back to ancient Greece and Roman times, when locally experienced harbor captains, mainly local fishermen, were employed by incoming ships' captains to bring their trading vessels into port safely. Eventually, because the act of pilotage needed to be regulated and to ensure that pilots had adequate insurance, the harbors licensed pilots. As an example, the California Board of Pilot Commissioners was the first government agency created by California's legislature, in 1850.
    However, before harbor boards were established, pilots known as “hobblers” or “hoveller” (hobilers), would compete with one another. The first to reach an incoming ship would navigate it to the docks and receive payment—sometimes they worked alongside and in competition with the licensed pilots, often blamed by them as being “wreckers.”
    Pilots were licensed by the harbor to operate within their jurisdiction, and they were generally self-employed, and so had to have quick transport to get from the port to the incoming ships. As pilots were often still dual-employed, they used their own fishing boats to reach the incoming vessels. But fishing boats were heavy working boats, and filled with fishing equipment, hence a new type of boat was required which single-masted boats were developed called a “pilot cutter.”
    For many, the roots of modern pilotage can be traced back to 1513 when a guild of mariners, troubled by the inexperience and poor conduct of unregulated pilots on the Thames endangering life and cargo, petitioned the king for license to set up a fraternity enabled to regulate pilotage on the capital’s river. The following year King Henry VIII granted and issued a Royal Charter to the Corporation of Trinity House in England, and licensed them to regulate pilotage services for maritime safety and navigation on the River Thames.
In 1566 Queen Elizabeth I’s Seamarks Act enabled Trinity House a specific role in: “at their wills and pleasures, and at their costs, [to] make, erect, and set up such, and so many beacons, marks, and signs for the sea… whereby the dangers may be avoided and escaped, and ships the better come into their ports without peril.” And as stated by Trinity Clerk John Whormby in 1746 who wrote of the Master and Warden’s duties: “to improve the art and science of mariners; to examine into the qualifications, and regulate the conduct of those who take upon them the charge of conducting ships; to preserve good order, and (when desired) to compose differences in marine affairs, and, in general, to consult the conservation, good estate, wholesome government, maintenance and increase of navigation and sea-faring men; and to relieve decayed seamen and their relatives.”
     Trinity held this license until the late 1980s when the responsibility was passed to individual Competent Harbor Authorities.
    The point is, while there became a distinct separation in Captain and pilot, there was never a distinction between pilot and navigator, he being one of the same until modern external harbor pilots emerged. Thus, the comment: “Nephi was not a navigator, he was a pilot,” is inaccurate since he would have been one of the same. And though Lehi would have been in overall charge, most likely Nephi was the Captain of the ship as well.
    All of this should show, even to the most skeptical, that piloting, navigating or steering a ship took a great deal of experience, requiring most known pilots to have a ton of knowledge stored in their heads since little to nothing was ever written down about steering in ports. Even the most experienced sailors that theorist claim existed in Khor Rori would not have hasd the knowledge to lead Lehi in the direction they were to sail to the Land of Promise, and only the information of the Lord disclosed on the Liahona made it possible for novices like Nephi and his brothers to man a ship across the deep ocean. Nor should any theorists, understanding this, claim the ship “island-hopped” across the ocean, for the knowledge it took to enter ports along the way. It would not be like stopping offshore and wading in to the beach—far more was involved.
    Comment: “Jerusalem is the same latitude as Georgia.”
    Response: Jerusalem is located along latitude of 31.76º North. In the U.S. state of George, from Rossville (34.98º N) and Fry (34.98º N) to Faceville (30.75º N) and Moniac (30.51º N) is found five different temperature levels, from -5 to 20º annual minimum temperature. In fact, there are four critical factors in successful plant growth: temperature, precipitation, soil type, and water.
Map of Georgia, showing the temperature zones (one of the four critical factors in planting and successful crop growth) and the variance of other matters all within a compatible climate zone of Köppen Cfb temperature, precipitation, soil type, and water

Obviously, then, Georgia differs from the climate of Jerusalem, which has at least eight months that must have average temperatures of 50 °F or higher (subtropical), and the average annual precipitation must not exceed 35 inches, yet Georgia has an annual precipitation of 51-inches per year. Whereas the Mediterranean requires an arid, dry summer; Georgia does not have a dry season at all, but is a humid subtropical climate, with a highly variable rainfall all year-round, with an average 128 days of precipitation, with an annual rainfall 29% higher than the Mediterranean maximum.
Top: Showing the differences in the Köppen Climate Types in the U.S.; Bottom: Plant Hardiness Map, showing that plants in Georgia along the 31-32º latitudinal lines have a different hardiness in growth than almost all other parts of the country

In Georgia, the climate stretches westward from the Atlantic along this latitude clear to west Texas, involving almost all of Texas, East Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia and those states immediately north of them.
    In addition, plant hardiness zones is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. Critically important for plant growth and survival, is temperature, humidity, light and soil moisture content, all important factors on a plant’s hardiness, growth and survival
    Response: Savannah, Georgia, on this latitudinal line, is 90º day, 74º night; heavy rain (51” year); extremely high humidity; and tropical storms six months of the year. It has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with long, hot and steamy summers, with muggy atmosphere making temperatures feel even more stifling.
(See the next post, “What Was Nephi’s Role on His Ship? – Part III,” for the completion of this response, and the further comments of the critique and our responses)